Today is my Twitter day. I’ll be honest…Twitter scares the socks off me. I sent my first twitter message 2 years ago. It was something like “hey, how do you use this thing?” No one answered. That was my last tweet. Oh, I’ve gone back a few times. One time a figured out how to follow people, so I signed up to follow about 40 tweeters. Kind of a mistake. I was overwhelmed with messages from strangers–most of which I couldn’t understand. That’s the other problem–no one uses complete sentences. I see symbols like # and @ and links that … into nowhere. And how can people say anything of value in 140 characters–other than “I just had a cup of coffee #help @blahblahblah http://linktonowhere….”
So why worry about Twitter? Why clutter my day? Why learn to speak Twitter instead of Italian (which is a lot sexier)? Unfortunately for me, Twitter is a new way of communicating that probably isn’t going away. According to the Huffington Post, Twitter now has 105,779,710 registered users and new users are signing up at the rate of 300,000 per day. But just because everyone else is sharing about the coffee they just drank or the lame thought they just had, doesn’t mean I should. According to Social Media Today, however, “It’s not just about what you are doing and what others are doing. It’s about the world around you and it’s about the community you create within Twitter.” That has clear implications for ministry. This is the kind of social media that happens in real-time and in real space. When people experience an emotion, have a question, need a friend, seek a deeper connection, they probably aren’t going to wait around until Sunday morning. They go to the friends they keep in their pocket. And the thing is, those pocket friends can minister in new and creative ways. For instance Rick Warren has over 432,000 followers and Joyce Meyer has over 435,000. Somehow, their messages of hope are infiltrating the lives of almost half a million people–one tweet at a time. Well, I don’t have that kind of following, but why can’t I send a little hope out there too? I’m not sure what it will take to build a community on Twitter, or what that even looks like, but I guess it is time to figure it out.
So into Twitter I go. First step–what do I say? I think about what I am doing that I can share with the world. I just ate breakfast. No. No one cares. It is cold outside. No. No one cares. The dog just woke up. No…. This is harder than I thought. I know, I will start with a quote from Pope Benedict XVI. It is hard to really bomb if I quote the pope. It took me another 20 minutes to get the post whittled down to 140 characters. I hit the “Tweet” button and off it goes. It wasn’t the best thing I’ve ever done, but I tweeted. Yes, I have overcome my first tweet fear. Twitter, this is your warning…I will conquer you!!!